Vari-Sound: A varifocal lens for sound

Gianluca Memoli, Letizia Chisari, Jonathan P. Eccles, Mihai Caleap, Bruce W. Drinkwater, Sriram Subramanian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Centuries of development in optics have given us passive devices (i.e. lenses, mirrors and filters) to enrich audience immersivity with light effects, but there is nothing similar for sound. Beam-forming in concert halls and outdoor gigs still requires a large number of speakers, while headphones are still the state-of-the-art for personalized audio immersivity in VR. In this work, we show how 3D printed acoustic metasurfaces, assembled into the equivalent of optical systems, may offer a different solution. We demonstrate how to build them and how to use simple design tools, like the thin-lens equation, also for sound. We present some key acoustic devices, like a “collimator”, to transform a standard computer speaker into an acoustic “spotlight”; and a “magnifying glass”, to create sound sources coming from distinct locations than the speaker itself. Finally, we demonstrate an acoustic varifocal lens, discussing applications equivalent to auto-focus cameras and VR headsets and the limitations of the technology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period4/05/199/05/19

Keywords

  • 3D printing
  • Fabrication
  • Metamaterials
  • Microstructures
  • Spatial audio

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